If you are interested in learning more about the Advocacy efforts of the Iowa Annual Conference's Advocacy Team, then you have come to the right place! 
This page is a resource for you to learn more about upcoming events, resources related to our denominational perspectives on the four issue areas of the Annual Conference, and ways to get your congregation involved in ministries of outreach and advocacy!






Final report - Legislative Advocacy Team - June 2019

Interested  in becoming part of the
Legislative Advocacy Team?

Download this form and find out how!

Advocacy Team

Brian Carter, Team Lead  -
Rita Carter  -
Gary Nims  -
Bobby-Jo Paige  -
Carolyn Uhlenhake-Walker  -
Deb Streff (UMW Liaison )  -

Robert Mulqueen  -


Position Papers
Bottle Bill
Children & Gun Safety
Death Penalty 
Earned Income Tax Credit
Enforcement of Immigration Law
Global Warming
ental Health
Sports Gambling
Water Quality
Religious Exemption
Restoring Felon Voting Rights
Gun Amendment to the Iowa Constitution
Sports Gambling
Racial Profiling

Work of the Iowa United Methodist Legislative Advocates at the State Capitol

  1. Set Priorities in consultation with the Bishop and Assistant to the Bishop for Connectional Ministries.
  2. Review Iowa Annual Conference Resolutions and General Conference Resolutions.
  3. Review list of legislative bills being presented for consideration by Legislations.
  4. Declare either For or Against on bills presented if there is a clear resolution stating the United Methodist Church position either from Iowa or the General Conference.
  5. Issue Action Alerts to ask United Methodist’s to talk to their legislators about the bills we have declared on. Talk about our concerns.
  6. Attend Iowa Legislative sub-committee meetings in Senate and House of Representatives to present our views and submit suggestions for amendments.
  7. Review bills which are adopted by the sub-committees and make adjustments to the United Methodist Declarations: For, Against, Undecided.
  8. Issue Action Alerts to ask United Methodist’s to talk to their legislators about the bills we have declared on. Talk about our concerns.
  9. Attend Iowa Legislative Committee meeting to see what will be presented to the House or Senate.
  10. Review bills which are adopted by the committees and make adjustments to the United Methodist Declarations: For, Against, Undecided.
  11. Issue Action Alerts to ask United Methodist’s to talk to their legislators about the bills we have declared on. Talk about our concerns
  12. Thank Legislators for their time listening to us.
  13. Thanks United Methodists for contacting their legislators.
  14. Make report to Bishops Office about results of our advocacy.



Harlan Gillespie
Assistant to the Bishop
Director of Connectional Ministries

Felicia Coe
Associate Director of Connectional Ministries
(515) 974-8911



2020 Priority Issues 

These six issues will be supported by the Legislative Advocacy Team at the 2020 Iowa Legislature
- Download the  Priority Issues Brochure 2020 -
2016 Book of Discipline and Book of Resolution -
  • We support all people (children, youth and adults) suffering the effects of mental illness and strive for equal and effective treatment for all.
    The Adequate funding for mental health care:  We support adequate public funding to enable mental health care systems to provide appropriate therapy.  Citing economic reasons as the cause for failure to provide medications to a person who needs them is unacceptable.  
    Suicide prevention: We believe that suicide is not the way a human life should end.  Often suicide is the result of untreated depression, or untreated pain and suffering. Some suicides are brought about by post-traumatic stress disorder (mental wounds) which are triggered by the experience of specific traumatic events such as combat, domestic violence, child abuse or rape. 
    The church and the community at large, have an obligation to see that all persons have  access to needed pastoral and medical care and therapy in those circumstances that lead to loss of self-worth, suicidal despair, and/or the desire to seek physician assisted suicide. We accept the prohibition of persons with serious mental illness from purchasing guns. 
    Adequate number of mental health care workers:  Children and adults alike are likely to suffer more harm to themselves or others if they are not able to get help from qualified mental health workers when it is needed.  Iowa has a significant mental health workforce shortage.    We believe persons have a right to obtain care appropriate to their condition. We support policies that promote access to care.  
     (Information from The United Methodist Book of Resolutions 2016, #330 “Ministries in Mental Illness”, Social Principles Paragraphs 161 and 162)
  • We support legislation that will equip people in poverty to achieve self-sufficiency. The Bible witnesses God’s preference for the poor. We are to offer compassion and justice for the neediest of God’s children.
    Minimum Wage/Living Wage: Since 1908 the church has advocated for a living wage in  every industry. We support efforts to raise the minimum wage to a living wage and index it to inflation. A living wage provides for food, shelter, clothing, education and health care.  
    Welfare reform: We advocate for welfare policies that work together to enable recipients and their families to leave poverty and achieve self-sufficiency. There must be sliding scales of eligibility so that welfare recipients can retain a substantial portion of wage earnings and assets before losing cash assistance, housing subsidies, health coverage, childcare or food assistance.
    Tax reform: We support measures to revise tax structures, so they are more progressive, and eliminate deductions that now benefit the wealthy at the expense of other persons. 
    Gambling: Gambling is a menace to society, deadly to the best interests of moral, social, economic, and spiritual life, destructive of good government. It gives false hope to the poor and acts like a regressive tax on their livelihoods.
    Education: As a consequence of inequities in our society, we have a moral responsibility to support, strengthen, and reform public schools. We must address the issues of race and class that threaten both public education and democracy in America
    (Information from: 2016 Book of Resolutions, Social Principles Paragraph 163, Resolutions on Living Wage #4101, and “Public Education and the Church” #3165.
  • We support local and national laws that prevent or reduce gun violence.
     “Our Call to End Gun Violence” The United Methodist Church supports the following measures:
    · Universal background checks on all gun purchases;
    · Ensuring all guns are sold through licensed gun retailers;
    · Prohibiting all individuals under restraining order due to threat of violence from purchasing a gun;
    · Prohibiting persons with serious mental illness, who pose a danger to themselves and their communities, from purchasing a gun;
    · Establishing a minimum age of 21 years for a gun purchase or possession.
    · Banning large-capacity ammunition magazines and weapons designed to fire multiple rounds each time the trigger is pulled;
    · Promoting new technologies to aid law-enforcement agencies to trace crime guns and promote public safety.
    Children and guns:  Legal access to guns to children needs to be opposed. Having guns in a home increases the risk of children’s injuries.
    Advocating for the children of the world is a priority of The United Methodist Church.  Studies demonstrate that the prevalence of firearms directly increases the risk of youth homicide,  suicide, and unintentional death. American children younger than 15 are nine times more likely to die by a gun accident than those in the rest of the developed world.
    (Information from 2016 UM Book of Resolutions #3428; Private Guns, Public Health by David Hemenway)
  • We support care of the earth which will preserve the environment for the benefit of all.  
    Climate change and human activities:  We acknowledge the global impact of humanity’s disregard for God’s creation.  Ongoing climate change created by greenhouse gas emissions is having negative impacts on the economy, environment, and human health.
    Impact of climate crisis:  For the United States, climate change impacts include greater threats of extreme weather events, sea level rise, increased risk of regional water scarcity, and the disturbance of biological systems. The severity of climate change impacts is increasing. We support mandatory reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.    
    Renewable energy: Cleaner alternatives to traditional energy sources are available. Harnessing solar and wind power will produce energy more efficiently in response to God’s call to be responsible stewards.
    Right to abundant and clean water:  Water is a gift from God. We advocate measures that will  address polluted runoff that is threatening to public health; protection of waters for future generations; wetlands preservation to clean water and sustain wildlife; and the public’s right to know that their water is safe.
    Plastic pollution:  Plastic pollution is choking our oceans, poisoning our food and water, and  threatening humans and wildlife through non-biodegradable plastic waste. We support efforts that will reduce single-use plastics, and transition to reusable and biodegradable products.
    (The United Methodist SocIal Principles, paragraph 160, I. The Natural World, 2016 Book of Resolutions and Iowa 2019 Resolution #504)
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  • We affirm a criminal justice system that reflects God’s desire for healing of offenders, victims and communities through restorative justice.
    Humanizing the restorative justice system: A justice system that reflects God’s desire for the world is one that heals the offender, the victim and the community. Those who commit crimes must be held accountable through making amends. They must be given the opportunity to return to their full place in society and community, including the reinstatement of their voting rights.  We cannot punish our way to a healthy society. 
    Racial and ethnic profiling:  Profiling is never an acceptable law enforcement tool. 
    Alternative outcomes to arrest:  Police encounters with people who break the law must not always end in arrest.  Diversion to a mental-health or treatment providers, homeless shelter, or outreach to a parent in the case of a child are more effective strategies to combat criminal behavior in certain circumstances.
    Financial bonds as last resort:   A presumption that a person accused of a crime should be released on personal recognizance unless an evidentiary-based determination is made that personal recognizance will  not reasonably assure future appearance or represents a risk of imminent physical harm to others.
    “Ban the Box” for returning citizens seeking employment:  We support the creations of laws that prohibit discrimination against people with criminal records.
    (Information from:  The 2016 Book of Resolutions, Criminal Justice #5031 “Humanizing Criminal Justice”)
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  • We affirm all persons as equally valuable in the sight of God and therefore work for a world where all are valued and affirmed.
    Equal protection of the law:  No person should face discrimination or violence because of their race, color, national origin, ethnicity, age, gender, disability, status, economic condition, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religious affiliation.
    Immigrant rights:  As children of God, we affirm the right of all persons to equal opportunities for employment, access to housing, health care education and freedom from social discrimination.  This includes all who are not yet citizens of this nation. 
    Death penalty:  All life is sacred . . . including that of the person who takes another’s life. death penalty denies the power of Christ to redeem, restore, and transform all human life.  It denies the possibility for correcting a mistake of convicting a person wrongly. Christ’s gift of forgiveness and reconciliation is offered to all and gives all new dignity and sacredness.
    (Information from:  The 2016 United Methodist Book of Resolution, Paragraph 162 H) The rights of Immigrants; #3427,  F) The Death Penalty)